Dalia Ziada on Women in the New Egypt

// 21 March 2011

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By way of a postscript to my recent post about the exclusion of women in Egypt from the democratisation process, I’ve just come across this interview with blogger and activist Dalia Ziada in which she talks about the problems she’s witnessed and experienced.

No transcript is currently available.

[Dalia Ziada on Women in the New Egypt from Women, War & Peace on Vimeo]

Comments From You

Susan // Posted 27 March 2011 at 4:57 pm

I was hoping someone would post a transcript, but I can’t find one, so I’ve done one myself. It’s just what she says (visuals are her talking and shots of demonstrations) and there’s one place where I can’t make it out and a few more where I’m not entirely sure.

Transcript:

It was amazing what the Egyptian [people] has achieved in these protests. We never thought it’s gonna turn into a real revolution when we first started it. I thought it’s going to be a protest like usual, like you know, at the end of the day we will go back home and that’s it.

On that particular day, January 25th, I realised it’s gonna turn into something really big when I saw in the streets with me, women who are older in age, who are dressing in a way that tells you they are from, uh, sectors in society that are more ?[something I can’t catch] and less educated. This sector of society is usually apathetic, not interested in politics. So at that time when I saw them in the streets I realised it’s not us cyber-activists any more; it’s more than that, it is the whole population is coming out.

Nobody cared whether they are Muslims, Christians, whether they are men or women: during the protest women participated perfectly. They stood side by side by men, they faced this exactly like their colleague male protesters; they witnessed everything and participated effectively in everything. But unfortunately after the protests happened and, um, We were able to bring Mubarak down and the revolution succeeded to some extent, unfortunately all, everything is happening in the country now during this transformation phase, women are completely marginalised from.

Also in this phase, we are ruled by the military high council. This is 100% men and they are having a military mentality, so they can hardly include women. We have female judges in Egypt, but none of these judges, although they are highly qualified, none of them was invited for example to participate in the committee that helped moderate some articles in the constitution. 90% of the law related to women’s rights or the stipulations related to women in our law and constitution are completely against women.

For example, in our constitution, we have a clear article in the constitution, it’s very funny but it’s crazy and awful as I consider it, and very discriminative. It says if [a] woman cannot balance – I’m using my language of course – if woman cannot balance between her work, her household work, household activities like cleaning, washing and this stuff, and her work outside the house, then she should abandon her work outside the house. Don’t you think this is crazy, yeah, it’s …

Women on the Women’s Day, March 8th, wanted to go to the street as women, not as Egyptians, and call for more rights for women. But unfortunately the reaction from the male protesters was very bad. They kept telling, “It’s not your time, it’s not time to talk about your rights, go back home. We are now looking for democracy.” But I don’t really understand what they mean: if they are looking for democracy, then women’s rights should come first, at least because we have been there, we have made this revolution, we have made this success. And it’s our time now to call for our rights, it’s our time now to say: we want to be equal, we want to end, we want us to get our dignity as women, not only as Egyptians.

Helen G // Posted 27 March 2011 at 5:02 pm

Susan: Thank you very much for taking the time to do this; it’s really appreciated.

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